A quick glance at the text messages of the average parent would turn up plenty of emojis. An exasperated smiley face to your wife when you get stuck at work. Two mugs of beer clinking in the coworker group chat confirming Friday’s happy hour. A thumbs up from your kid when you asked if soccer practice was still on even though it had rained earlier. They’re a ubiquitous part of modern life, which means they’re a ubiquitous part of modern parenting too.
The folks at the Unicode Consortium get to decide which emoji get added. It’s a sacred duty, much like medieval monks who protected ancient manuscripts to preserve them for future generations.
Well, not really. But it is kind of a big deal when emoji, maybe the closest thing to a globally understood language, get an update, and the 2020 update—Emoji 13.0—is a doozy. One hundred and seventeen new ideographs made the cut, and there are few different themes.
The biggest is gender inclusivity. There are now a ton of “person” variations of emoji where before there was only “man” and “woman.” The transgender flag and symbol will also make an appearance in your phone’s keyboard shortly.
A ton of new animals, foods, tools, and random household items also made the list, along with, of course, a couple new smiley faces.
The best news for parents is that a lot of the new characters will come in handy when describing parenthood. These are our favorites.
Smiling face with tear
This one is so versatile. It could mean you’re at your kid’s school play, beaming with pride and crying with joy because you’re so proud of them for remembering their lines. Or it could mean that the stress of taking care of a fussy infant has led you to completely crack up, smiling a demented smile while tears stream down your face
People feeding baby
There are person, woman, and man options for this one, which shows someone bottle-feeding a baby, a counterpart to the breastfeeding emoji that debuted in 2017.
There’s even a gender-neutral Claus to go along with Santa and Mrs. Claus. Delightful.
There are a ton of kiss-themed emoji, so it seems right that hugs will now also be represented.
Along with ghost, cowboy, and a few other classics, ninja is a Halloween costume that never seems to go out of style. And if that’s what your kid decides to go as this year, you’ll be ready.
We hope you’ll never have to us this one, but kids are disproportionately likely to get these kinds of infections, so it may unfortunately come in handy.
You’ll need this to keep your out-of-town spouse updated throughout your kid’s bedtime routine.
No one should make it through childhood without whacking a piñata at their birthday party, so this emoji will come in handy if (and it really should be when) you decide this is the year.
The ’70s may be over, but roller skating is still fun as hell. This emoji will come in handy when you’re planning a family trip to the rink.
Whether you’re “dead” because your kid said something hilarious or you feel dead tired because you did something crazy like take a baby on a crosscountry flight, this one will come in handy. Rest in peace.